Bilbosa are a Genoa based collective who are not afraid to experiment musically and who push their own creative boundaries through long, explorative jams. During the pandemic those jams have been a creative lifeline of sorts when playing to a live audience became impossible. Ayla is an EP of songs created during the difficult days of Covid and as a collection it showcases a band brimming with talent, ideas and energy.

Neon is the first time the band have ever added vocals to one of their tracks and they did so by inviting Irish singer-songwriter Lori Sky to listen to the track and write some lyrics to fit. The result is a brilliant piece, her singing adding a Celtic beauty above layers of dreamscape synths and jangly guitar lines. Comparisons have already been made to the likes of Dolores O’Riordan or Amy MacDonald and it is easy to see why but there is a subtly to Sky’s vocal that is uniquely her own.

The second track on Ayla is a more familiar territory for the band. TSURU starts out as very chilled instrumental sunshine music before it takes on more depth and urgency. The fuzzy guitar sits above a driven rock drum beat. The time signatures are slightly off-kilter and you never quite know where the track is going to end up. The result is a sonic landscape where you can dance, you can dream and you can escape.

3+4 again starts small, with a twanging acoustic guitar over a basic country tinged back beat but it is soon overtaken by lush guitar licks and an understated but funky bassline. The guitar playing has a Latin flavour to it, which suggests a band willing to explore world music and incorporate diverse influences into their sound. The track builds into a post-rock, reverb laden seven minute behemoth. It highlights everything Bilbosa are getting a reputation for – the jam like feel of the music, technical excellence, and creating big immersive soundscapes.

The final track on the EP is the original version of Neon, an extended instrumental track that both showcases the quality of the music and yet also demonstrates how much Sky’s vocal changes and adds to the piece.

Ayla is a great EP. It’s exciting, its song structures are interesting and playful and it has a feeling of freedom – the yearning for freedom after coming out of lockdown perhaps. Regardless of the motives and philosophy behind the music, Ayla is the sound of a band with huge potential, creative curiosity and bags of talent. It will be interesting to see what Bilbosa do next.

Bilbosa – Ayla is released 18th June 2021 on Seahorse Recordings.